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Community Wildfire plan in works

by Bill Knowles
WALSENBURG- The county commissioners heard from the La Veta Fire Protection District, last Wednesday during the regular commission meeting, concerning the development of a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP).
The CWPP, mandated by law, requires the state forester to establish guidelines for plans to identify and mitigate fire hazards in the wildland – urban interface areas. The La Veta Fire Protection District (LVFPD) is spearheading the project and received $17,500 from the county’s Title Three funds to help pay for gathering the data for the plan
Crews from the LVFPD will be going into unincorporated areas throughout their district to inventory structures and begin building a county wide fire mitigation plan. The plan is also required before the fire protection districts are eligible for mitigation grants that will allow the plan to be applied.
Benefits of the plan will be GIS mapped locations of all structures in the county along with identifying routes, bridges and available water sources for fire fighting. The information can also be used by EMS and other public safety organizations to access many of the areas in undeveloped parts of the county.
La Veta Fire Protection District Board Chair Mark Brunner told the County Commissioners that time was of the essence. “We are currently into the driest spring we’ve experienced in a while, so right now we are behind the curve on this plan.”
After members of the LVFPD have completed the inventory in their district, they will take their expertise and train members of the Gardner Fire Protection District and the Huerfano County Fire Protection District in the process.
The county commission also voted 2-0, with Commissioner Art Bobian abstaining, to move $10,000 from the PILT fund to the Spanish Peaks Community Foundation. The funds will allow the foundation to begin the purchase of 17 acres west of the hospital to be used for the development of a nursing home and assisted living facility.
Nine acres of the purchase will eventually be sold to Cháe Organics for the development of their new manufacturing facility.